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(en) Freedom 6323 Nov 30 2002 - What we say ...

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 17 Dec 2002 04:46:19 -0500 (EST)


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In the last few weeks, the government has warned its
citizens of the threat from dirty bombs and gas. The
security services have targeted members of the North
African community, which has been used as an excuse to
flood the tabloids with scare-stories about a planned
al-Qaida attack on London's tube.
The Guardian recently said there's 'fear in the air this
winter'. There is, it said, 'a pre-sentiment of increased
and nameless danger'. But how did this presentiment
enter our consciousness? There's no evidence of any
terrorist activity carried out by al-Qaida in the UK either
before or after September 11th. Nothing's taken place to
explain the spreading alarm. Any fear in the air has been
manufactured to garner support for Blair's war on
Afghanistan and (soon) Iraq.
Since September 11th, the securitisation of the British
state - the gradual turning of this island into one big
prison camp - has carried on apace. But, while September
11th gave Blair an excuse to ratchet up public anxiety, the
securitisation agenda was clear from his very first day in
office.
The peace process in the north of Ireland might've been
expected to remove any justification for the 'temporary'
measures of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Instead
Blair extended its measures to the UK as a whole and
chose to redefine 'terrorism' to include any effective
dissent. The new Terrorism Act, passed two years ago,
made it plain that policing techniques and processes of
criminalisation developed on the streets of Belfast and
Derry were now to be deployed against any threat of revolt
in Britain too.
In the Queen's Speech this month, New Labour set out
its plans for a Criminal Justice Bill. Under this the 'double
jeopardy' rule for murder and rape would be abolished,
juries would be allowed to listen to hearsay evidence and
details of a defendant's previous convictions would be
revealed. 'Judge-only' trials would be introduced for cases
involving complex fraud or the 'threat' of jury-tampering,
which (police and Crown Prosecution Service will
presumably argue from now on) might exist in any major
criminal trial.
These suggestions mirror the principles embodied in
juryless Diplock courts, established by the Northern
Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act which came into
force in 1973. These are effectively kangaroo courts, set
up to fast-track the criminalisation of the nationalist
community. By the present 'criminal justice' proposals,
New Labour's normalisation of the 'special powers' used
by the state in its war against the Republican movement is
rendered almost complete. That these powers are really
intended for use against the 'enemy within' is hinted at by
the government's response to the firefighters' strike.
The government has used the demoralisation of the
British labour movement since the 1980s as a breathing
space in which to retool the powers of the state. It's
fostered an atmosphere of 'increased and nameless
danger' by focusing on refugees, terrorism, single parents
and paedophiles, using them to bludgeon any possibility
of developing solidarity.
It's deployed measures like the ones contained in the
Queen's Speech to deal with 'anti-social behaviour' (there
will soon be 50 different low-level 'nuisance' offences), in
order to maximise the policing of everyday life. Blair and
his allies are absolute enemies of the self-emancipation by
working class communities that, for so long, have
financed and voted for the party he leads. Our response to
his agenda can only be, as always, to re-forge working
class resistance to the state. We must become the threat
the government's always feared. We must be its
nightmare.


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